How to plan a trip abroad: Student edition

So you’ve finally decided to spend your summer across the ocean, and you’re already thinking about visiting art museums and lounging at cafés. Now what?

how to plan a trip 1

You’ve actually got to plan this dream vacation, and though you won’t have it all figured out in a matter of days, you have to start somewhere. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your planning a lot easier, while also saving you some money in the process.

Use Kayak for flight comparison

Instead of limiting your search for flights to one website at a time, Kayak ( pools together all of the results from different websites so that you can do a side-by-side comparison of all available flights to your destination. This way you won’t miss out on a great deal on a site that you forgot to visit. In addition to flights, the site offers the same service for hotels, cars, and cruises, among other things. It also lists the latest deals for specific destinations in case you still aren’t sure where you’re headed. You can also search these deals according to your interests, including golf, beach time, or family.

Take advantage of Eurorail train passes

how to plan a trip 2Plane tickets can be extremely expensive and though domestic flights within Europe are often on the cheaper side, it can still be stressful to hop on a new plane every few days if you have a lot of ground to cover. Taking a train is therefore the best option, and specifically with Eurorail you can travel all around Europe without having to board a plane at all. There are different types of passes available, depending on how many countries you plan to visit and how many times you will need to travel: you can purchase a “Global Pass” that lets you travel across 21 countries, a “Select Pass” for three to five countries, a “Regional Pass” for one specific region that you can explore in-depth, or a “One Country Pass” that is perfect for those who are constantly on the go in a country. Information about each country and its rail service is provided in great detail on, including reservation suggestions, scenic route alternatives, and connecting bus routes between airports and transit terminals.

International Student Identity Card

how to plan a trip 3The ISIC is an internationally recognized student discount card that saves you money in many ways, including accommodations and meals. Even if you aren’t travelling, you can still receive discounts, such as cheaper rates for landline phone calls on Skype and cheaper newspaper subscriptions. Although the price of the card varies from country to country (visit your local ISIC office to inquire about the exact cost), it’s roughly the price of a movie ticket. Considering the potential savings you can make compared to the price of the card, it’s definitely worth the trouble of applying for one, even if you don’t end up using it that often. The ISIC can be bought at Travel CUTS (Canadian Universities Travel Service), your college or university student union, or online at

Take advantage of a travel agent’s expertise

Although many travellers prefer to cut out the middleman when looking for trip deals and booking flights, students can greatly benefit from speaking to a travel agent. Not only are they trained to find you the best deals, many of these agents have specialized knowledge about student rates, packages, and discounts. Eurorail, Air Transat, and RBC Travel Insurance all have great student rates that can knock off a significant amount from the overall cost of your trip. By speaking to a trained consultant about your trip plans, you might also pick up some tips about a specific hotel he or she stayed at, which landmarks can be accessed by subway instead of spending extra money on a taxi, or what types of things to avoid in a certain city. It can’t hurt to hear what they have to say, and you will likely walk away feeling much more confident about your proposed travel plans.

So what are you waiting for? That trip isn’t going to plan itself!